2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 11/13/2017 9:49 PM

Geneva opens title defense with win at Glenbard South

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  • Geneva's Maddy Yelle drives around Glenbard South's Mady Carli during girls varsity basketball in Glen Ellyn on November 13, 2017.

      Geneva's Maddy Yelle drives around Glenbard South's Mady Carli during girls varsity basketball in Glen Ellyn on November 13, 2017.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard South's Sarah Cohen and Raquel LaPonte look on as Geneva's Brie Borkowicz lays up for a shot during girls varsity basketball in Glen Ellyn on November 13, 2017.

      Glenbard South's Sarah Cohen and Raquel LaPonte look on as Geneva's Brie Borkowicz lays up for a shot during girls varsity basketball in Glen Ellyn on November 13, 2017.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva's Maddy Yelle guards Glenbard South's Raquel LaPonte during girls varsity basketball in Glen Ellyn on November 13, 2017.

      Geneva's Maddy Yelle guards Glenbard South's Raquel LaPonte during girls varsity basketball in Glen Ellyn on November 13, 2017.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

As a defending state girls basketball champion, Geneva knows it has a big target on its back this season.

Glenbard South missed that target Monday in the teams' season opener.

The Vikings led from start to finish, winning 45-26 in the Rachel Bach Memorial Tournament in Glen Ellyn.

"It feels amazing to start out with a win like this," Geneva senior center Madison Mallory said. "I feel like we played pretty well. I think we have some things to work on, but it's really a good start for us."

"Geneva does a nice job," Glenbard South coach Morgan Kasperek added. "They come out with confidence. They are the defending state champion, so they earned that swagger. We need to get a little bit of it."

Still, in some ways it was a typical early-season game. Both teams struggled with turnovers in the first quarter, and team shooting percentages were low.

"It's a little nerve-wracking," Mallory said. "I think we were all a little bit nervous. At the start we had a little bit of nerves, but I think as we got the game going we got better and better."

Geneva's lead reached double digits at the 6:20 mark of the second quarter when Stephanie Hart's 12-foot jumper made the score 17-6. The Vikings (1-0) led 26-12 at halftime.

Glenbard South cut the lead to 11 several times in the third quarter but couldn't get the margin to single digits.

"I think Glenbard South, every time we play them they play us tough," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "Every single time. I knew coming in that they'd give us some good competition."

But the Raiders (0-1), who won a Class 3A regional last season, thought they didn't rise to the occasion.

"It wasn't our best effort," Raiders coach Morgan Kasperek said. "I think we were a little nervous to start. We went 1 for 8 from the 3-point line in the first half, so that was a little rough. We just have to establish that we're going to be more aggressive offensively. I think we let them hold us and push us and let it really throw us off our game.

"All things we can fix. I don't think it was skill. I don't think it was anything like that. It was mental at this point."

Geneva pulled away in the fourth quarter, with the lead peaking at 21 points.

"They're a really good team," Mallory said. "I wasn't surprised at all that they were going to stay in it. I knew that they were going to come out hard. I think everyone is going to come out hard against us. We have a big target on our back, and I'm ready for it. I think we're all ready for it. We know what the stakes are."

The Vikings are trying to deal with the high expectations that come with being a defending Class 4A champion.

"I know it's not going away, but we're trying to make it go away," Meadows said. "They all know, but we haven't talked about it a ton. We keep on saying, just do us. Just do what we do. Hopefully, it all works out."

Hart led the Vikings with 13 points. Brie Borkowitz added 9, and Mallory scored 8.

"We're trying some new things offensively, and we're getting there with it. I just felt like our timing was off a little bit tonight. We couldn't catch passes. Our lobs are like bullets. Just some touch things that we need to work on."

Junior center Maggie Bair led the Raiders with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocked shots.

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